By Marygrace Taylor
COPD sufferers, take note: Keeping the air inside your home cleaner and free of toxins can be as simple as adding a few ferns to your indoor decor.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, concentrations of indoor air pollutants can be up to five times higher than outdoor concentrations. But houseplants can be one of the most effective tools to keep the air in your home free of harmful irritants, helping to improve your lung function.
Americans with respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors, according to an EPA report. But even in clean homes, harmful compounds can be emitted into the air from various sources including furniture, building materials, carpeting, upholstery and even cleaning products. Houseplants can help get rid of those compounds; some have been shown to remove up to 87 percent of indoor air pollutants in just 24 hours, according to research conducted by NASA.
Here’s how it works: Plants perform a process called photosynthesis, during which they act like vacuums to take in carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants and release fresh, clean oxygen. Clean air, of course, has fewer irritants, which can make it easier to breathe.
While all plants help clear the air through photosynthesis, certain types appear to be especially effective at sucking up toxins. Here are 10 easy-to-maintain options that are available at many nurseries and gardening centers:
- Areca palm
- Lady palm
- Bamboo palm
- Rubber plant
- English ivy
- Dwarf date palm
- Boston fern
For the greatest air-cleaning benefit, experts at Colorado State University recommend placing one potted plant per 100 square feet of home space.